Gallerie Public Spaces – Interesting and Compelling Community Endeavour


Gallerie Public Spaces, a set on Flickr.

Most of the art, is confined to Galleries and Elite spaces. The artists aspire to be seen and heard in those spaces. Even the visual artist community, many of who themselves must have emerged from a very humble surroundings, does not go back to those spaces. The photo and painting world, the art world, like the fashion world, looks only in one direction – tags, visibility, rubbing shoulders with THE happening people and in HAPPENING places.

After having seen and experiencing the HAPPENING world from close quarters, I wanted to do an experiment and exploration to enliven public spaces. Unexpected and unbeknown to the regular users of a public space, I curate a painting and photo exhibition in the place, that I study thoroughly to understand its usage by people – place, time of the day and activities. When they come without any expectations and to their surprise find the display of creative works, they are taken in and inspired. I did it in three parks in and around my place of stay, Sarita Vihar.

Then I though, why not tax a little more and see how far I can go to study the acceptance of this concept. Went to Lodhi Gardens to put it up. The security stopped me from doing it and asked me to seek permission from Dept of Horticulture of NDMC as there are many ‘BIG’ officers who walk in the park and object to any form of using the park apart from walking and discussions!!

I spoke to the director of NDMC. He wanted me to give things in writing and wait for the permission. For want of time, I stopped it at there. I wish I can push a little more. I am sure I can, If I can invest time. Nothing can be gained without shifting a paradigm.

The learnings and realizations –

a. People loved it and very inspired by just a change in their existential space. It really changed their perspective of what parks can be!

b. The few works placed in the park made every one introspect about their life journey. Quite a few became emotional about what they could achieve in their lives and what they could have achieved more

c. Many a members rushed home to bring along the larger families, who came excited and found the space thrilling

d. The the discussions went on to figure out how, we can make these parks and community spaces more exciting.

This experiment has just been an extension of what I see and do in school and educational spaces. Can we not make each of these community spaces, THE HEART, of the communities.

H – Health : Spaces for health and healthy lifestyle practices

E – Education : Learning spaces for holistic development

A – Agriculture and Art spaces : for bringing interactions, sharing, Performing, learning and market spaces

R – Rural Development : Innovation, Entrepreneurship and economic development

T – Tourism, Travel : Vibrant spaces for experiences and exchanges

This concept can be compelling depending on the level to which we can take this idea and make real forays. While my endeavour continues in school space, would love to collaborate with a District Collector to make the shifts in a district and then replicate it across districts, state and the nation.

On the Gallerie public spaces front, I am going to continue my explorations. I have now plans of creating a mobile gallerie; to do a van that can go around and surprise people in park, in and around Delhi.

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